Scottish Talking Newspaper Conference

Posted: 31/10/2013 | ,

The Scottish Talking Newspapers Conference took place on 26 October celebrating their 25th Anniversary and it provided an opportunity for the Scottish Braille Press to give a presentation about their work. 

A talking newspaper is a recording of news and features in an audio format that is usually distributed free of charge to visually impaired people. The conference was organised by the Association of Scottish Talking Newspapers, whose role is to assist people who are unable to read magazines and newspapers due to a visual impairment or other disability. They keep Scottish talking newspapers up to date with technology and legislation as well as providing training.

The conference brought together editors, readers, sound technicians and volunteers from the various regional Scottish talking newspaper services. Subscribers in Scotland were also present providing valuable feedback in terms of tailoring services to meet their needs as well as an opportunity to meet the people behind the voices. A programme of presentations, seminars and symposiums were structured throughout the day in order to share best practice, ideas, problems and points for discussion.

Deputy Manager of the Scottish Braille Press, Sandra Wright gave a talk entitled “A brief tour of the Scottish Braille Press” which effectively provided a virtual tour of the building, introducing the different work areas over the 3 floors and the roles of various staff members. 

Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded were present within the exhibition hall alongside RNIB, Macular Society and Audio Description Association Scotland. Delegates were keen to learn about the services provided and ways the Scottish talking newspaper community can help raise awareness within their respective memberships.

Deputy Manager of the Scottish Braille Press, Sandra Wright said:

"Quite a few people spoke to me afterwards to comment on how interested they were to hear about this part of Royal Blind's work and how they enjoyed being given a virtual tour of the facility.”

"There was a lot of interest about the forthcoming transition from Standard English Braille (SEB) to Unified English Braille (UEB) which is being adopted in the UK in 2015 with the objective of all Braille production moving to UEB in 2016. A number of people wanted to know more about the changes this would bring, in particular regarding Braille contractions.

Sandra also told the audience about the Disability "double tick" award that was recently awarded to Royal Blind. The double tick recognises employers that have significant policies and practices to support disabled workers.

Anne O’Donnell is Employment Support Worker at the Scottish Braille Press and when asked about the disability ‘double tick’ symbol she said:

“I think that the accreditation is very important as it both recognises what we do and reminds us of our commitment to employing disabled people. It makes you reflect and focus on your targets. It also sends a message that we value all of our disabled employees and encourages candidates to apply for a job with us who might not otherwise have considered it. I’m disabled myself and it certainly works for me! The disability tick symbol would make me feel much more confident about applying for a job with Royal Blind if I weren’t already employed here.” Read more.

Find out more about Unified English Braille on the UK Association for Accessible Formats website.